Your Guide to Florida Estate Planning

Your Guide to Florida Estate Planning

Basic estate planning is a great idea for most people. Planning ahead to be sure that your affairs are in order can help your family handle any unexpected expenses after your death.

Having someone you trust to handle your affairs is critical if you become incapacitated and need someone to manage them for you. New Florida residents should take the time to become knowledgeable about Florida laws when purchasing a new home and getting the homestead exemption, creating a trust and last will, arranging for power of attorney for finances, appointing a health care surrogate, living will, and setting up a transfer of the homestead exemption.

When you own a home in the state of Florida, you may be eligible for the homestead property tax exemption. Generally, a $25,000 exemption is applied to the first $50,000 of your home’s assessed value of it is your primary and permanent resident. To get the exemption, you would have owned the property since the beginning of the tax year.

A trust is generally used for reducing estate taxes, as it is a fiduciary agreement allowing a trustee to hold assets for beneficiaries. There is no income tax imposed on trusts in the state of Florida. There are also rules about who you can select to be your executor for your last will, so you will want to review the estate planning laws in Florida before appointing a personal representative to handle your final affairs.

When selecting a person to gain power of attorney over your assets and there are Florida statutes that govern the validity of the power of attorney issued in other states. In addition, there are specific permissions that are granted to the agent you appoint to handle your power of attorney. Agents can generally create trusts, make disclaimers, change the designated beneficiaries and more. It is important to designate someone you fully trust before granting a power of attorney.

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A health care surrogate is someone who can make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to do so on your own. In Florida, this person is known as a Florida healthcare surrogate. They can help with general health care issues as with decisions and approval for the types of medical treatment received. A health care surrogate can also help with applying for public benefits for healthcare costs, and they can decide on health care facilities.

A living will is a written statement that details a person’s wishes for their medical treatment in the event that they are incapacitated and unable to express informed consent. It lets medical professionals know a patient’s wishes with regards to end-of-life medical care.

In Florida, the signing of a living will must be observed by two witnesses that also must hear you speak out the details of your living will, and it does not need to be notarized. Once the document is signed, a copy should be provided to your health care surrogate.

You will want your property matters in place as well and transferring a homestead exemption in the state of Florida is an important place to start. There are specific restrictions on transfer to the homeowner’s spouse and children, and it’s important to check on these details of the homestead exemption in the state of Florida.

It’s always best to plan ahead, especially for something as important as estate planning. You will want to plan accordingly to have everything in proper order to care for those you love and to put someone trustworthy in the position to manage your affairs. Learn more from the Florida Estate Planning Lawyers.

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